The latest in a series of health initiatives planned by Staten Island Borough President James Oddo calls for students to quit sugary drinks for one month. The "Sodabriety" Challenge has been issued to four area high schools: Staten Island Tech (New Dorp), St. John Villa Academy (Fort Wadsworth), Staten Island Academy (Todt Hill), and Susan Wagner High School (Manor Heights).

Within each school, a Challenge Advisory Council was formed, comprised of ten students and two teachers, designed to promote the campaign and encourage other students to sign up. Participants were asked to fill out surveys before beginning the challenge and once more after they have completed it in 30 days. The incentives offered here are better health and awareness of the negative effects of consuming too many of these SSB's (sugar sweetened beverages).

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Beverages targeted in this challenge are sodas, sweetened teas, sports drinks, fancy coffee drinks, and others with high amounts of added sugar. Studies show that 80% of teens drink at least one of these types of beverages per day, and the chance of obesity increases 1.6 times with each drink. Staten Island is already a largely unhealthy borough, with 75% of residents reported as overweight and 33% likely to have heart disease.

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Oddo was inspired by a study done at Ohio State University which showed that teens were more capable of convincing their peers to cut back on the sugary drinks than adults were. If this first round at the chosen four schools proves successful, the challange could expand to more schools. In a statement about the challenge, Oddo said, "The notion that I'm going to mandate, I'm going to tell you what you can and can't have, makes people forget the message. We want to educate you, we want to encourage you, and we want to inspire you."

Posted by Dil Gillani on


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